Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

Childhood memories. Not mine necessarily, but I'm sure these memories belong to someone. As for me, I just think they're cute. Ice cream cone cupcakes are actually extremely easy to make. I made them as a birthday present for my mother-in-law but spread their sweet, confectionery goodness around to a few other people. How many cupcakes can one person really eat anyway?

I had originally set out to pipe the icing on top in order to make them resemble soft serve ice cream cones, but my make shift pastry bag exploded. For years now I have refused to buy a real pastry bag and instead have used a simple ziploc with the corner snipped off. However, the last THREE times I tried to do this, the bag popped mid pipe causing not only frustration, but also non-piped icing. Darn store brand plastic bags. Alas, I have succumbed to the baking gods and will be going to Micheal's this weekend to purchase a bona fide pastry bad. I write this as I wipe away a tear shed at the loss of my ingenuity.

Enough about me...here's the recipe:
(p.s. I was way too lazy to bake these from scratch)


1 box of cake mix, any flavor you like
water, vegetable oil, eggs according the box that your purchase
1 container of frosting


1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place an ice cream cone in each well of a cupcake pan.
3. Fill each cone about 3/4 of the way full.
4. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
5. Allow to cool completely.
6. Ice and decorate as you see fit!

So easy, a child could do it. Perhaps this is why they are such a birthday party staple.

There is just one problem with these cupcakes: the cake bakes inside the cones and therefore, cake can be found all the way down to the very bottom of the cone. While cake is good, it is perfectly complemented by icing. Yet, by the time you eat down to the lower half of the cone, the icing is a distant memory.

Next time I think I would tunnel a small vertical hole down the center of the cupcake and pipe in a little bit of icing so that its creamy goodness can be tasted throughout the entire experience. Probably easier said than done....

Happy Birthday Mom Ford!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes

The plan for this week was supposed to be Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes but they are for dinner on Saturday so I can't make them just yet. However, I still have the baking bug. The cure for this ailment turned out to be Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes.

The husband and I (especially the latter) are huge fans of cinnamon buns. The problem with them is that they take FOREVER to make. All that rolling and rising doesn't work out very well for a girl who, as we all know, severely lacks patience. Besides, my rolling pin and I still haven't made up from the last fight we got into. He's been banished to the dark drawer and perhaps one day soon will be allowed to grace me with his presence. But he hasn't earned that
privilege yet. That is neither here not there.

As luck would have it, I stumbled about a recipe for Quick and Easy Cinnamon Bun Bread over at Baking Bites. I thought to myself: Self, there is no reason why we can't do a little experiment with this recipe and turn them into cupcakes. And that is exactly what I did. They turned out to be delicious although I wish you could have seen the look on my face when I opened the oven and it looked like a brown sugar explosion had occurred inside my oven. It's just as well because it could use a good cleaning anyway...Part of me is inclined to suggest lessening the amount of brown sugar used in the recipe but they just tasted so perfect that I think the brown sugar blowout and subsequent dishpan hands were well worth it!

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 tsp active dry or rapid rise yeast
2/3 cup warm milk (about 1 minute in the microwave)
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
2 tbsp butter, room temperature
2/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch ground cardamom
1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tbsp milk or cream


1. In a bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt.

2. Dissolve the yeast in a measuring cup filled with the warmed milk.

3. In a separate bowl, stir milk mixture, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and egg together.

4. Pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture, mix well, and spoon evenly into 12 well-greased cupcake pan.

5. Allow the pan to sit still for 15 minutes.


6. Mix together butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and cardamom in a small bowl using a fork or your fingers until the butter is entirely incorporated and the mixture is crumbly.

7. After the dough has been resting for 15 minutes, divide the brown sugar mixture evenly over top of the unbaked cupcakes. Press the sugar into the dough with your fingers or use a butter knife two swirl it into the dough.

8. Place pan into an UNPREHEATED oven. Then, set the temperature to 350 degrees.

9. Total bake time will depend on your oven and how quickly it heats up. Mine baked for about 18 minutes. Just keep an eye in them until the center of each cupcakes springs back upon gently poking. Don't worry if the sugar on top still looks gooey.

10. Allow the cupcakes to cool for 30 minutes on a wire cooling rack.


11. Prepare the frosting by mixing the powdered sugar with the milk until it has reached your desired consistency.

12. Drizzle the icing over the cupcakes.


***I ate two of them (for test purposes obviously) and they are definitely better when warmed slightly in the microwave...just a suggestion...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Because Everyone Fails Sometimes

In my last post, I declared that I would be making Cupcake Pops. And I tried. And I failed. Miserably. Here's what happened:

It all started out well enough. I baked a lovely yellow cake and whipped up a batch of vanilla icing. After the cake cooled, I crumbled it into a fine texture using my food processor. I smushed the icing into the cake, rolled them into balls, and stuck them in the fridge for a few hours. So far, so good.

However, that's where it all took a turn for the worse. I tried to use the flower cookie cutter to shape the base of the balls into a cupcake shape. Failed. The balls were too small or the cookie cutter was too big. Either way, tiny cupcakes just weren't going to happen. Time to move onto plan B: (Round) St. Patrick's Day Cupcake Pops.

So, I left the cake in ball form and decided to go from there. I melted the green candy melts over a double boiler, stuck lollipop sticks into the balls, and proceeded to dip.

Failed. The candy was too thick and just kept sliding off of the cake. The lollipop sticks kept coming out of the cake. The lollipops that did work wouldn't stand up straight in my temporary Styrofoam stand, so I had to put them flat down onto tin foil which would inevitable cause the top side of the cupcake pops to be flat. Then...when I tried to decorate them with sprinkles, the chocolate kept sliding down onto the foil causing the sprinkles to go with it. Failed.

This is what I ended up with:

I suppose that I could have continued in this manner and at the worst they would at least taste good, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I wouldn't have been more embarrassed than proud to share these.

All is well and I'll be trying something new this week for my mother-in-law's birthday. She mentioned cupcake ice cream cones the other day, so I think that is what I will attempt to make for her this week. Hopefully the failures are all behind me.

Oh!! And I am going to Cold Stone Creamery this week specifically to try one of these:

Ice Cream Cupcakes!! Not only are these one of the cutest things I have seen in a long time, but they also look unbelievably delicious! I will let you know how good they...are all the while hoping that this doesn't turn into an unhealthy obsessions (or an extra 10 pounds).

Monday, March 9, 2009

I'm So Excited

And I just can't hide it. This week I am making Cupcake Pops:

I stumbled upon this picture and it was as if these cupcake bites spoke to me. Or rather begged me to bring them to life. They are going to be quite challenging, but I am so up for it. I think that I will make them more St. Patrick's Day oriented and bring them to a party I am going to on Friday night. I absolutely can't wait to share these.

Then next week, sushi is on the menu. Sushi cupcakes that is...sounds appetizing, huh??? Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies

Decadent. That is the only word that comes to mind....and delicious, delectable, definitely delightful. That's enough alliteration for one day. Or is it? Maybe there is something to Betty Crocker after all because these were freakin' fabulous! I got this recipe from my B.C. cookbook, but you can also find it online.

My mom had the husband and I over for dinner the other night while my niece was spending the weekend at her house. She made us shrimp scampi that was fantastic and I brought these brownies for dessert. I also brought them to The Ladies first Book Club meeting which was also spectacular. Although next time perhaps we should have a little less wine and a little more book talk. I digress....

Anywho, these come highly recommended by me and everyone else who had the pleasure of pleasing their palette with their gratifying goodness. I pretty much followed Betty's recipe except I decided to skip the chocolate frosting and substitute it for homemade chocolate ganache because something about this recipe just had to be from scratch or I couldn't live with myself. In the end, I think I made the right decision. It really made the difference and I learned how to do something new!

Here's how to make it:


1box Betty Crocker Original Supreme brownie mix (with chocolate syrup pouch)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
1pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker chocolate chip cookie mix
1/2cup butter or margarine, softened


1. Heat oven to 350ºF. Spray bottom only of 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray, or grease with shortening. Make brownie mix as directed on box, using oil, water and 2 eggs. Spread in pan.

2. Make cookie mix as directed on pouch, using butter and 1 egg. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls evenly onto brownie batter; press down lightly.

3. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted 2 inches from side of pan comes out almost clean. Cool on cooling rack 30 minutes. Cover with the chocolate ganache (recipe to follow) and cut into bars.

For the ganache:

1. In a small saucepan, heat 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream and 6 tbsp. butter until just before the boiling stage.

2. Pour over 12 oz. chocolate semi-sweet chips that are in a separate bowl.

3. Let stand for about 30 seconds and stir until everything is incorporated and smooth.

4. Pour over the brownies and allow to set before cutting. (This might take longer than you think)

Finally, pour yourself a BIG glass of milk (or wine) and try to eat just one!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Asian Lettuce Wraps

So, these would fall under the "everything nice" category. Clearly they aren't baked goods, but they were so yummy that I just had to share. Rumor has it that Asian Lettuce Wraps are the number #1 appetizer to order at P.F. Chang's, which happens to be one of the husbands favorite restaurants, but neither of us have actually had the restaurant's version despite their raving reviews. We have, however, been trying to eat much healthier, so I made these with ground turkey and they were a hit! Something we will definitely find a place for in our revolving menu. The other added bonus is that I, being such a picky eater, was forced to try a few new ingredients and (surprise, surprise) actually liked them!! Funny how that works...

Anyway, these are delicious!!


1/2 cup water
1/2 cup instant brown rice
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 pound 93%-lean ground turkey
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 large red bell pepper, finely diced
1 (8 ounce) can water chestnuts, rinsed and chopped (i left these out)
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon five-spice powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 heads Boston lettuce, leaves separated
1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs, such as cilantro, basil, mint and/or chives
1 large carrot, shredded


1. Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add rice; reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add turkey and ginger; cook, crumbling with a wooden spoon, until the turkey is cooked through, about 6 minutes. Stir in the cooked rice, bell pepper, water chestnuts, broth, hoisin sauce, five-spice powder and salt; cook until heated through, about 1 minute.

3. To serve, spoon portions of the turkey mixture into lettuce leaves, top with herbs and carrot and roll into wraps.

mmm....i'm hungry just looking at this picture!